[Foundation-l] Deleting blatant copyright violations from the database

Brian Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu
Sun Aug 12 22:15:23 UTC 2007

[0] is the addition of an abstract from the journal Nature [1]. It was in
the encyclopedia for four months until I accidentally found it. I was told
in IRC that the procedure for this situation is to simply remove the change
from the current revision of the article, because it is technically
difficult to permanently remove things from the database. This seems
incredibly problematic to me. From a legal perspective, I don't see any
difference in viewing an old version of an article which contains a
copyright violation, and that copyright violation still being in the current
version. There is some effort to hide old revisions from search engines, but
the violation still exists on the Internet, and the copyright owner's rights
are still being violated.

Please note that I have no special interest in this text. I thought it was
common sense that blatant violations like this would be deleted from the
database, and so am very surprised at the lackadaisical attitude I have
encountered. This seems like a tremendous legal risk, and there must be some
technical solution for easily removing old revisions from the database,
especially in cases like this where the text remained essentially unchanged.

After I asked for more information about the procedure for deleting text
like this from the database, I was told to nominate the article for deletion
so that it could be rewritten without the copyright violation. The community
solution was to remove the text from the current revision and speedy keep
the article. This does nothing to protect the rights of the journal Nature,
and if the community is going to be left in charge of handling copyright
violations, they should be empowered with tools for permanently removing
that text.

I hope someone here can tell me about all the aspects of this situation of
which I am unaware in addition to the actual legal perspective.

/Brian Mingus


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